A crazed gunman walks into a building in Fort Hood, Texas, pulls out two handguns, and begins firing indiscriminately at everyone and everything. Two cops respond, one of whom is a female, and they both engage the subject as he leaves. Despite being shot in both legs, the female officer continued to fight on.
In Seattle, a pair of cops are seated in their patrol car reviewing reports. Suddenly, a car pulls next to their unit and begins firing at them, killing the male officer and wounding the female partner. She returns fire and summons help, even though she suffered a gunshot wound.
A former police officer from Minneapolis, working security at a church in Colorado, confronts a gunman who has already shot several people. She finds cover and waits for her opportunity to take him down. She identifies herself and engages the man, fatally shooting him.
These are but a few of the recent incidents in which our sisters in uniform have distinguished themselves. I shouldn't be amazed at their valor and professionalism, but being old school, I admit that I still harbor an old fashioned image of women and their role in society. It's wrong, I know. I've seen enough ladies in my time who could succeed at just about anything they put their mind to.
For example, I had a student in one of my classes at the FBI Academy who suffered a torn ACL, which is one of the four major ligaments in the knee. This injury occurred two weeks before graduation, and just days before the final firearms qualification. She was told that if she failed to qualify with her weapon, she would not graduate.
Amazingly, this young woman had a remarkable ability to focus on her goal. She wound up wrapping her knee and putting on a brace. On the day of the final qualification course, which included running from one yard marker to another, shooting from the prone, kneeling, and standing positions, she somehow managed to complete the course and qualify. Believe me when I tell you that I wasn't the only one whose jaw dropped at the final whistle. It was one of the more gutsy performances I've ever witnessed. She went on to graduate and receive her credentials as an FBI Agent.
I spent some time as a DT/PT Instructor at the academy. At one point, one of my female colleagues was pregnant, and as time went by and the baby grew, I thought that she would relinquish her duties on the mat and take on a more admin type role. Boy was I wrong. This woman continued with her normal teaching schedule, which included leading her class in PT and teaching defensive tactics. The curriculum included arrest techniques and ground fighting skills. I was reluctant to co-teach with her, thinking that I might injure her or the baby. She quickly disabused me of that notion, and rolled around on the ground with me as we demonstrated mount and guard positions, escapes, and weapon retention. What an inspiration. I've known guys who've pulled themselves from class when they had a headache. Talk about wimping out...
It's all illustrative of a couple of points that I continue to make throughout the course of many of the articles I write for this website and others. There are several reasons why these women performed as they did. The main one is they reverted to their training. That old, irrefutable axiom - the way you train is the way you fight - is clearly at work here. When things go sideways, when you find yourself in the midst of a critical situation, your only recourse is to summon what you've learned in training. It becomes your frame of reference. If you've trained for all of the possibilities, the what ifs, then you've more than likely embedded a memory of the incident and how to handle it somewhere in that big storage cabinet we call our brain.